In the 70’s and 80’s, the premium car brand will always be associated with the BMW, Mercedez Benz , Audi and the US own Cadillac. Now the Japanese car is one of the popular choices in the US and in our countries but during this time the Japanese were looked inferior to the brand as mentioned above. Toyota Motors had decided to change this and was keen to launch the first Asian own premium car that able to compete with the German and the US Brand. In 1983 the founder of the largest automaker in the world Toyota Motors Eiji Toyoda decided to act on this.
The first thing he did, he had asked his staff and engineer a question “Can we create a luxury car to challenge the very best “. The challenge had been meeting by the Toyota staff with 1400 specialized designer and engineer prepared to build the first Asian luxury car but they decided to go further by building it better than the European car. They had acted on this by visiting the US and study the luxury consumer lifestyle and conduct a market research on the taste of the US upper class. With the information collected, Toyota had decided to create a separate brand under their group. The project previously named as F1 and then the Toyota had decided to name the car as Lexus with means Luxury and Elegance.
With the cost of over 1 billion USD , with involves 60 designers, 24 engineering teams, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 technicians, 220 support workers, approximately 450 prototypes, the dream of the Toyota founder had come true when the first Asian luxury car had been introduced in 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit , US and the first model named as Lexus LS 400. The design is one of the major achievement for an Asian car maker as it does not share any component of Toyota vehicles.
Was it a success for Lexus? The answer is yes as the brand quickly established some loyal customer and the sales figure for the BMW and Mercedez-Benz had dropped to nearly 29% and 19% respectively due to this. From this Lexus, had gone strength to strength in the US market and a survey that had been conducted where Lexus has been called as the most reliable premium car brand in the US and also one of the least expensive cars to maintain in the US.
Lexus also emphasized on the after sales for their customer as they had a motto that says “all the Lexus customer will be treated as the guest in their home”. Since the launch in 1989, Lexus had been one of most popular choices for the US car lovers and in the world. Toyota Motors want to distinct their Toyota model and Lexus by creating a designer philosophy called as “Lexus Must” where all the details from the leather seat stitching must be specifically for Lexus car.
Lexus also become the first premier car that had installed a premium audio in their car. The provider of the premium audio for the Lexus car is Mark Levinson. Like the BMW that had the iDrive , Mercedez Benz with COMMAND and Audi with MMI , Lexus has their own centralized Remote Touch Controller. The Lexus car also has excellent NVH in their car as Toyota had introduced acoustic glass to reduce the NVH. With the NVH had been reduced the owner will be able to hear full sound of their premium audio in their car.
Although Lexus had been one of the most popular and as per the survey the most reliable premium brand in the US and around the world but in our country, Lexus is one of the least popular choices. They are several reasons that can be attributed to this in our country.
The first is the price for the Lexus car is higher in our country than in the US. Due to higher tax for the foreign car in our country, the price is more expensive that the Mercedez Benz and BMW. For the Lexus CT, a hatchback model the starting price it RM256,885 and the Lexus IS the sedan model is RM297,800. Quite expensive if compared to BMW and Audi where the entry level price for BMW is RM208K for 316i. The price is one of the major letdowns for the Lexus sales does not hit to the US level.
The Lexus that had been sold here is assembled in Japan and due to this the Lexus car model is called as CBU (Complete Built Up). The CBU model had some disadvantages as the prices of the car are higher and the maintenance of the car is also higher compared to the German car in our country. The spare part in some cases need to imported from Japan and this can let the car lovers breaking the bank account to change it.
The Lexus even though is a luxury car but is still a Japanese car that was sold at higher prices. In our country, our car lovers will prefer to spend high money on the German car compared to the Japanese car. As the prices of entry level for Lexus is higher than the German and in some case, the maintenance of the Lexus is far higher than the German car, some will prefer to get the cheaper Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Although in Malaysia Lexus is one of least favorite choices for our car lovers, the one thing that Lexus had proved to the world is that Asian also can make an excellent luxury car that able to compete with the best. This is a testament to the Toyota Motor engineers and their sales in making the Lexus as the first Asian luxury car. The Japanese had again proved that with hard work, dedication and right attitude any achievement is possible like they did in the in 40’s where they had become the first Asian country to defeat the European powerhouse.